Who will pick African tickets to U17 Women's World Cup India 2022?

Published on: 04 June 2022

Usual suspects Ghana, Nigeria and giant-killers Tanzania claim the lead heading into the second leg ties of their U17 Women's World Cup, India 2022 final round this weekend.

Ghana head to Rabat with a 2-0 lead against Morocco from the first leg in Accra, while Nigeria host Ethiopia in Abuja with a slim 1-0 advantage in Addis Abbas and Tanzania welcome Cameroon in Zanzibar after a shock 4-1 win in Yaounde two weeks ago.

  • Morocco vs Ghana

The Moroccans will be anxious to leverage on their home ground advantage and bounce back from a disappointing first leg result to earn a historic qualification as they prepare for the return tie at their Moulay Hassan Stadium in Rabat on Saturday evening.

Strikes from Stella Nyamekye and Nancy Amoh in Accra condemned the baby Atlas Lionesses to a first defeat of the series, leaving their maiden qualification hopes in the balance.

The Moroccoans had suffered a 4-0 loss at home when both teams met in the 2016 U17 Women's World Cup qualifiers, before losing 6-0 in the reserve fixture in Accra - the same venue they managed to fall by just two-goal margin six years after.

In 2018, the North Africans bowed at home in the final round against South Africa, as they crashed out on a 6-1 aggregate defeat.

Their disappointing final round record is worrying, having lost all the two home meetings since entering into the competition in 2016, and they will be welcoming Ghana for the second time in the third attempt for a spot in this year’s global youth showpiece.

Can they break their final round jinx?

  • Nigeria vs Ethiopia

Five-time U17 Women's World Cup campaigners Nigeria have one foot in the final courtesy of their hard-fought triumph in Addis Ababa inspired by team's topscorer Opeyemi Ajakaye. Ajakaye's sixth goal of the qualifying series in the 36th minute was the difference for Flamingos and will look for a similar better showing when the side plays in Abuja. Coach Bankole Olowookere is seeking guide the West Africans back to the global stage after a 2018 miss at the expense of Cameroon.

“Our main objective is to do Nigeria proud, make Nigerians happy with the World Cup ticket. We will not underrate the Ethiopians because they are a good team who also qualified for this stage," said Bankole, who doubles as Naija Ratels coach.

"We defeated them 1-0 in Addis Ababa but that does not mean we should assume the ticket is won. We are focused on the task at hand. The Ethiopians have shown a flair for playing better on away ground and that is one thing we have taken on board."

The Falconets are undefeated and remain the only team yet to concede in this year's competition and they will need just a draw at the Moshood Abiola Stadium to ensure a place in the finale.

The last meeting between these two sides was in the 2018 qualifiers where Ethiopia held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in Addis before recording a scoreless draw in Benin City Ahead of Saturday’s duel, the Ethiopians will need to summon these spirits and more, to overturn the slim deficit against the Flamingos.

  • Tanzania vs Cameroon

The Tanzanite pulled off the biggest shock of the qualifying tournament as they secured a massive result away from home with three away goals in Yaounde two weeks ago. And that will be a huge advantage as they gear up for the second leg in Zanzibar on Sunday.

A hat-trick from Clara Cleitus Luvanga plus Diana Williams Mnally's opener handed the Serengeti Girls the huge step, putting them in pole position for a historic ticket to India 2022.

In a chat with CAFOnline.com, Tanzania coach Bakari Shime reflects on the stunning first-leg triumph and went on to share his side's target in the second leg fixture.

"The first leg was a very difficult game, Cameroon is a very strong side in this category, so, we check their strong points and the weakest point and hope we'll work on that, in this home ground and hope to be a winner," Shime told CAFOnline.com.

"We are supposed to defend well, to prevent Cameroonians from getting any goal here and then try and score and claim total control. All of us are happy and can say we put one step in the world cup qualifier and then we need to put the whole body inside the world cup. So all of us, let us see, it will be a difficult game, but we are ready to fight against them."

With her three goals in Yaounde, Luvanga is the leading scorer with 10 goals in the qualifying series and will seek to add more to her tally against Cameroon at the Amaan Stadium.

However, Cameroon must overturn a three-goal deficit against Tanzania to avoid missing the U17 Women's World Cup for the first time in the third consecutive attempt this weekend. They will be depending on the exploits of Camila Daha and Mana Lamine to achieve the uphill task.

Source: CAFOnline